In their evolving relationship with direct reports, managers should start with being fair.
by Bravetta Hassell
July 12, 2016
Managers are expected to prioritize performance, but when it comes to working with new team members, especially, supervisors’ close attention to fairness will help to drive results, according to a study published this June in the Cornell Hospitality Report.
“The Changing Relationship between Supervisors and Subordinates: How Managing This Relationship Evolves over Time,” explores a number of factors including how the relationships between employee job performance, fairness perceptions and supervisor-subordinate relationship perceptions change over time. In it, researchers Michael C. Sturman and Sanghee Park found that perceptions of fairness play a key role during an employee’s first year — a critical time to establish expectations and requirements for future job performance and the quality of the supervisor-subordinate relationship. But that effect diminishes quickly, the report found. The manager’s focus on the employee’s performance matters more as time goes on.
The study suggests supervisors will undermine their team’s success if they use a static approach to manage workers who are at different points in the employee lifecycle. The supervisor-subordinate relationship is an evolving one. Establishing trust with employees first, through things like fairness, will improve job performance and the relationship itself in the short and long term.
Bravetta Hassell is a Chief Learning Officer associate editor. Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.